Conn. venue remains a hidden jewel

Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Conn., is a great place. It’s a beautifully restored concert hall and restaurant with great food and it’s exactly 16 miles from my house. Roselle dragged me to see Maura O’Connell, who is sensational. She’s a powerful Irish singer with a voice that can make grown men weep.

It takes us five minutes to get to the Mahaiwe and 28 minutes to get to Infinity. It took Einstein longer. It’s surprising that when I mention this wonderful venue to people, almost no one knows about it. That’s a shame. It’s a great resource, with a tremendous roster of acts during the year and not a bad seat in the house.

There will be those who think me paranoid, but whenever I am riding the subway in New York, a matter of great concern to every New Yorker, I read the signs that say, “If you see something, don’t keep it to yourself, tell a cop.”

When we were at the Infinity Hall concert I saw this guy sitting two rows in front of us. I noticed that the usher had shown him to his seat but he sat in a different seat. Not only that, they made a pre-show announcement that picture taking and recording were forbidden.

So, when I saw this guy reaching under his shirt, pulling out a whole bunch of wires and struggling to adjust them, I had the distinct feeling that something terrible was going to happen. The guy was putting some of the wires over his head and I kept thinking about the signs in the subway.

After having been warned by Roselle that I shouldn’t worry, I went to the back and whispered to the guy who was running the sound that ” while I am sure it is nothing to worry about, I should just mention it.”

In a second, the guy who seemed to be in charge came up, recognized me and asked if everything was all right. I then repeated my tale to him and he promised to check it out. Immediately, a formidable man walked through the front row (boy, was he smooth) and didn’t even seem to look at the guy as he passed by.

I figured I had done my part and settled back, expecting a boom of light. I then noticed that they guy’s wires, now on his head, had a little nugget of a thing on the side. I made it out to be a microphone. Of course, the guy may have been hard of hearing and this could have been one of those audio assistive devices. I can only wonder whether any of you, dear readers, would have done the same thing as I did.

My friends at Kripalu have a remarkable project going. The gist of the idea is that if many of our potentially at-risk young people were to embrace yoga as a way of life, they could substantially improve the quality of their own lives.

They’ve started an educational program that would get these kids to sign up. If they help one kid by putting him on the right track, the project will be worth it. This program has been tried with soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder and it shows real promise. I am in awe of so many of our not for profits from Community Access to the Arts to Shakespeare and Company to Barrington Stage Company to the Railroad Street Youth Project in Great Barrington.

In the Berkshires, we really care about our kids. In the case of Kripalu a very concerned board of trustees has worked hard at spreading the word on the program. Of course, this type of program is not unique to the Berkshires. Right around the corner from WAMC is the Albany Mayor’s boxing program.

Same thesis. The more we try to engage our young people, doing things that they like, the greater the chances that they will turn from unproductive pursuits, some of which have been regularly showing up in the pages of The Berkshire Eagle.

By no means do these programs end crime but, no doubt, they will have some positive effect. I am sure that anyone wanting to help might reach out to help support these programs financially or by donating time and labor.

Finally, it seems that the food and drug people in Washington have approved some of the statin drugs for people as prophylactics even though the prospective patients show no clinical signs of needing said drugs.

One can only wonder whether six million people need to take a drug that will certainly have some side effects. More than eighty million people, me among them, already take these drugs. Six million more will take them when the drug companies get going.

So the question of the week is: “Who is this good for, the patients or the drug companies?” I’m pretty sure that I know the answer.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 4/3/10

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